by: David Polinchock

So, what happens when the consumer turns your store into their stage? How do you react? Do you call the police, like Best Buy did? Do you enjoy it? Do you take pride in the fact that they picked your location? Do you tell your staff to play with them?

It's a very interesting question and it certainly brings us back to the socialization of retail question that we've brought up in the past. In a world where the consumer is used to controlling all of their content, what happens when they walk into your retail space? What opportunities are you giving them to personalize their shopping experience? Consumers want to have fun and if you don't provide the opportunity, then they create their own opportunities.

We can only imagine that this kind of thing will occur more and more and retailers will have to know how to handle it when it does. Groups like Improv Everywhere are just looking for new ways to have fun and you may be next.

Here's what happened at Best Buy:

The idea for this mission was submitted by a stranger via email. Agent Slavinsky wrote in to suggest I get either a large group of people in blue polo shirts and khakis to enter a Best Buy or a group in red polo shirts and khakis to enter a Target. Wearing clothing almost identical to the store's uniform, the agents would not claim to work at the store but would be friendly and helpful if anyone had a question. There aren't any Targets in Manhattan, so I decided to go with the two-story Best Buy on 23rd Street.

They did a another mission at the Home Depot in Manhattan:

What happens when hundreds of customers show up at a store and start shopping in slow motion? In this YouTube video clip, check out what happened when 225 Improv Everywhere Agents shopped in slow motion at a Manhattan Home Depot on August 19. The Improv Everywhere site includes extensive photos and videos of the "mission," including a detailed description of what happened during a 15-minute period when time stood still at Home Depot:

Link: Improv Everywhere Mission: Best Buy.

Link: The Business Innovation Insider: Slo-Mo Home Depot.

Original Post: http://blog.brandexperiencelab.org/experience_manifesto/2006/09/improv_everywhe.html

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